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Foldable phones vs. rollable phones: Which is the future?

I’m used to the idea of ​​foldable smartphones that open to display larger screens. However, phone makers are likely to introduce new types of designs that challenge the best foldable phones to achieve productivity-enhancing designs. Some phone makers are reportedly working on rollable or slideable phones (think devices with elastic screens), and new models are coming out earlier this year.

Samsung, which is already in control of foldable smartphones such as the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, may be developing foldable smartphones. Temporarily called the Galaxy Z Roll, this new device expands the screen from the size of a mobile phone to a tablet-like display at the push of a button. If you believe in rumors, the Galaxy Z Roll will join the rumored Fold and Flip update, which is expected to appear later.

The advent of rollable phones leads to an inevitable comparison with foldable phones. What is the difference between these two form factors? Also, which one will help you do more on the go? Until a device like the Galaxy Z Roll comes alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4, we won’t know all the answers. The two types of large screen phones have something in common and different aspects.

Folding Phones and Folding Phones: How Does It Work?

Until now, the concept of foldable smartphones is no longer a secret. The device is highlighted with a folding screen, but the way this screen folds varies from device to device.

For example, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 opens the phone like a book and displays an internal 7.6-inch screen. When not in use, this screen folds in half, leaving a 6.2-inch cover screen on the outside of the crease.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Image Credit: Future)

The Galaxy Z Flip 3, on the other hand, has redesigned the foldable cell phone that was common in the pre-smartphone era. The flip case opens the lid to access the internal 6.7-inch screen. When you fold the phone’s exterior, you’ll see a notification and a 1.9-inch panel that can act as a viewfinder when taking pictures with Flip’s external camera. The Motorola Razr isn’t as popular as the Galaxy Z Flip model, but it works as well.

Galaxy ZFlip 3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 (Image Credit: Tom’s Guide)

Both Galaxy Foldables are centered around a hinge that handles all folding and unfolding. Samsung claims that the fold and flip hinges can withstand 200,000 opens and closes. Phone makers are also taking steps to keep dust away from the foldable moving parts for added durability.

Phones that can be rotated or scrolled take a different approach by rotating the screen like a blind, hiding curved areas. I’m not sure exactly how this works with unreleased products like the Galaxy Z Roll. Some rumors suggest that the top of the screen will be longer. But before the electronics giant completely abandoned the phone business, you can see phones like the LG Rollable introduced in 2021.

The standard size of LG Rollable smartphones was standard. However, if you want to work with more screens, you can expand one side to see more screen area. In one of LG Rollable’s on-stage demonstrations, company executives held the phone sideways while the top of the screen stretched.

Rollable LG

(Image credit: LG)

No matter what Galaxy ZRoll or other rollable device you are using, the general assumptions are the same. Carry your full-size smartphone until you switch to tablet mode. This will enlarge the screen in one direction, perhaps by pressing a button. When not in use, additional screens are hidden.

Folding Phones and Folding Phones: What are the benefits of floating screens?

Folding and rotating phones share a common goal. It is compact enough to carry the device while providing a large screen for the user to work with. As smartphones have become more and more powerful, mobile apps have more features. There is a desire to transfer the tasks normally performed on a computer to a portable mobile device, especially if most of us are on the go. However, editing, drawing, and other productivity-focused tasks require a larger workspace than traditional phone screens. Therefore, there is a desire to extend this phone screen to a device that fits in your pocket or bag.

The fact that foldable and rotatable devices follow different paths towards this goal raises the question of whether one device has an advantage over the other. And when it comes to foldable phones, this new design obviously has a way to improve the ability of foldable phones.

Samsung has introduced subsequent improvements to each screen of the new Galaxy Fold model, but one flaw remains constant-there is a noticeable crease where the screen bends in half. The same is true for the Galaxy ZFlip, but it’s a little less noticeable. The opposition to wrinkles is mostly superficial, but if you pay $ 1799 for a phone, you don’t want the flaw to pop up every time you look at the expanded screen, especially when the screen is visible on the screen. .. White background.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Visible creases on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Some foldable products have been successful in hiding wrinkles. The creases in Oppo Find N are hard to feel and only appear in certain lighting conditions. However, this phone is currently only available in China. Therefore, it is up to the rollable device to find another way to solve this problem.

From a rollable perspective, the solution seems to be that the screen doesn’t bend or wrinkle. And it’s essentially what a slippery phone offers, and its screen pops out to stretch outwards. You need to make sure it actually works to see that, but imagine, for example, that the rollable display has no wrinkles or bumps because it doesn’t actually double as a panel on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Please try.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Hands-on Review

Closed Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Image Credit: Tom’s Guide)

Foldable phones are also quite bulky when closed. For example, the deployed Galaxy Z Fold 3 is 0.62 inches thick, almost twice the size of a traditional phone. Perhaps a rollable phone can reduce its thickness slightly, but you’ll need to look at the finished phone to see it.

Wraparound Phone: Unanswered Questions

How thin a foldable phone is compared to a foldable phone is just one of the questions you’d expect to be answered with the advent of devices like the Galaxy Z Roll. It’s also unclear how durable such a phone is.

Slider phones may like the hinges needed to fold the screen, but they always have the moving parts needed to rotate and open the phone screen. As moving parts deteriorate over time, it’s up to Samsung (or the phone manufacturer that sells rollable devices) to elaborate on how rugged a stretchable screen is.

Samsung Galaxy Scroll Concept Image

Samsung Rollup Concept Design (Image Credit: Techconfigurations)

Folding devices may be a new kind of device, but phone makers have already found a way to take advantage of that extra screen space. Multitasking is much easier with foldable phones that run multiple devices on different parts of the extended screen. For example, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 can run three apps at the same time. Both Galaxy foldables also provide a flex mode that allows you to open the device at a 90 degree angle and turn the bottom half of the screen into a control panel.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Flex Mode

Flexible mode of Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Image credit: Future)

With the exception of extra screen space, rollable phones have not yet presented such device-specific use cases. Samsung’s patent on rotatable phones shows that augmented screens can be opaque, making them ideal for augmented reality applications. But it’s unclear exactly how it works, or even if such a phone is approaching development.

Folding Phones and Folding Phones: Outlook

We are still in the early stages of folding phones, and there are only a handful of devices that offer the kind of features and affordability you’d expect from a smartphone. The track record of rollable phones is even less. Therefore, it will take some time to determine which type of device is best for which task. Still, it should be interesting to see what phone makers come up with in the very near future.


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Foldable phones vs. rollable phones: Which is the future?

We’re just getting used to the idea of foldable phones that open up to reveal a larger screen inside. But it increasingly looks like phone makers are going to introduce a new type of design that challenges the best foldable phones for offering a productivity-boosting design. Several phone makers are reportedly working on rollable or scrollable phones — think devices with screens that expand — with new models arriving as soon as this year.
Samsung, which already leads the way with foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, could have a rollable phone in the works. Tentatively titled the Galaxy Z Roll, this new device would enable you to press a button to expand the phone-sized screen into a more tablet-like display. If you believe the rumors, the Galaxy Z Roll would join the rumored Fold and Flip updates that we’re expecting to appear in the second half of the year.
The coming arrival of rollable phones invites inevitable comparisons to their foldable counterparts. What are the differences between these two form factors, and which one will help you get more done when you’re on the go? We won’t know all the answers until a device like the Galaxy Z Roll actually appears alongside the likes of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 or Galaxy Z Flip 4. But for now, our foldable phones vs. rollable phones comparison can look at what these two types of big screen phones have in common and where they differ.
Foldable phones vs. rollable phones: How they work
By now, the concept of foldable phones is no longer a mystery. The device is highlighted by a screen that folds, though the manner in which you fold that display varies from device to device.
In the case of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, for example, you open up the phone like a book, revealing the 7.6-inch display inside. When not in use, that screen folds in half, leaving you with a 6.2-inch cover display on the Fold’s exterior.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Image credit: Future)
The Galaxy Z Flip 3, on the other hand, repurposes the flip phone design that was common in the pre-smartphone era. In the case of the Flip, the cover opens up to let you access the 6.7-inch interior display. When folded, the exterior of the phone offers a 1.9-inch panel that can show notifications and service as a view finder when you take photos with the Flip’s exterior cameras. The Motorola Razr works much the same way, even if it’s not been as popular as the Galaxy Z Flip models.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
Both Galaxy foldables center around a hinge that handles all that folding and unfolding. Samsung has said that the hinges on both the Fold and Flip can withstand 200,000 openings and closings. The phone maker has also taken steps to keep dust out of the moving parts of its foldables to prolong their durability.
Rollable or scrollable phones take a different approach, rolling out the screen like a window shade, with the rolled up part hidden from view. We’re not sure how this will work exactly with an unannounced product like the Galaxy Z Roll — some rumors suggest that the top of the screen will extend. But we can look at a phone like the LG Rollable, which the electronics giant showed off in 2021 before it opted to abandon the phone business entirely.
The LG Rollable had the size of a standard smartphone. When you wanted to have more screen to work with though, you could make one side extend out, revealing more display space. In one of the LG Rollable’s on-stage demos, a company executive held the phone in landscape orientation while the top of the display extended and shrunk.

(Image credit: LG)
We’d assume the general principle is the same with the Galaxy Z Roll, or whatever rollable device comes along. You’ll carry around a regular-sized smartphone, until it’s time to switch into tablet mode. Doing so, likely by pushing a button, will cause the screen to extend in one direction; when not in use, the extra display will be hidden from view.
Foldable phones vs. rollable phones: What are the advantages of a scrolling screen?
Foldable phones and rollable phones share a common goal — give people a bigger screen to work with while still keeping the device compact enough to carry around. Smartphones have gotten more powerful while mobile apps are now more feature-packed. There’s a desire to move tasks you’d normally do on a computer to handheld mobile device, especially with more of us on the go. Yet, editing, drawing and other productivity-minded tasks require a larger workspace than a traditional phone display. Hence, the desire to make that phone screen bigger on a device that can still fit into a pocket or purse.
With foldables and rollables taking different paths to that goal, it brings up the question of whether one device has an advantage over the other. And in the case of rollable phones, there’s clearly one way in which this newer design might improve upon what foldables can do.
Even with Samsung introducing subsequent advances to the screen of each new Galaxy Fold model, one flaw has remained consistent — there’s a visible crease where the screen folds in half. The same is true of the Galaxy Z Flip, though it’s a little less noticeable. Objections to the crease are largely aesthetic ones, but when you’ve paid $,1799 for a phone, you don’t want one where a blemish is in full view every time you look at the unfolded screen, particularly when the display shows a white background.

The Galaxy Z Fold 3’s visible crease (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
Some foldables have successfully managed to mask the crease. The Oppo Find N’s crease is hard to feel and it’s only visible in certain lighting conditions. But that phone is only available in China at the moment. So it’s up to rollable devices to find a different way of addressing that problem.
From what we’ve seen of rollables, the solution appears to be you won’t get a crease if the screen never folds. And that’s in essence what a scrollable phone offers, with the display unrolling to extend outward. We’ll need to see this in action to confirm, but you’d imagine there would be no creases or divots on a rollable screen since it never really folds in two like the panel on a Galaxy Z Fold 3, for example.

A closed Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)
Foldable phones are also still pretty bulky when closed up. An unfolded Galaxy Z Fold 3, for example, measures 0.62 inches thick — nearly double the size of a conventional phone. Presumably, a rollable phone can reduce that thickness somewhat, though we’ll have to see a finished phone to confirm that.
Rollable phones: Unanswered questions
Just how thin a rollable phone can be relative to its foldable counterpart is just one of the questions we’re waiting to answer with the arrival of a Galaxy Z Roll-like device. It’s also unclear just how durable such a phone will be.
A scrollable phone may like the hinge required to fold a screen, but there will still be moving parts needed to roll and unroll the phone’s display. Moving parts degrade over time so it will be up to Samsung — or whatever phone maker brings a rollable device to market — to detail just how well the expandable screen will hold up.

Samsung rollable concept design (Image credit: Techconfigurations)
Foldables may be a new kind of device, but phone makers have already discovered ways to use that extra screen real estate. It’s much easier to multitask on foldable phones, running multiple devices on different sections of the expanded screen. The Galaxy Z Fold 3, for example, can run three apps at once. And both Galaxy foldables offer a Flex mode where you can open the device at a 90-degree angle, turning the bottom half of the display into a control panel.

Flex Mode on a Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Image credit: Future)
Apart from the aded screen space, rollable phones have yet to exhibit that kind of device-specific use case. Patents filed by Samsung for a rollable phone suggest that the extended display could be opaque, making it ideal for augmented reality apps. But it’s unclear how that would work exactly or even if such a phone is close to development.
Foldable phones vs. rollable phones: Outlook
We’re still in the early days of foldable phones, with only a handful of devices offering the kind of functionality and affordability you’d expect from a smartphone. Rollable phones have even less of a track record. So it will be some time before we see which kind of device is better suited for which task. Still, it should be interesting to see what phone makers come up with in the very near future.

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